The Sahara Force India team took back fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship from McLaren after seeing both drivers finish in the points at the Singapore Grand Prix. Sergio Perez recovered from having to make an extra stop for a new front wing to finish seventh, while Nico Hulkenberg was ninth.
Perez started fifteenth but his clash with the Sauber of Adrian Sutil caused the sole safety car period during the race when the Mexican’s front wing caused debris to scatter across the track, but he used a late pit stop and the struggles of Valterri Bottas’ Williams to make a good comeback and secure six points for the team. He managed to pass Kevin Magnussen, Bottas, Hulkenberg and Kimi Raikkonen in the final few laps after closing the gap down.
“The race really had everything for me and the final laps were very enjoyable,” said Perez. “I was very happy with our performance today and, most importantly, we finished ahead of our direct competitors. Those in front of me at the end had big tyre degradation, but this affected me as well.
“When I caught the train ahead I didn’t have much grip either and this made each one of the overtakes a bit more difficult. We managed our tyres perfectly and to go from P15 to P7 was the reward we deserved. It was a great result for the team; they did a fantastic job with the strategy and it worked very well for both Nico and me.
“Today was one of those results where the race gives you a fantastic feeling: it’s more than just scoring the points – it’s about how you gained the result. Everything gets thrown at you but you don’t give up and come back strongly to get the points.”
Team-mate Hulkenberg believed he could have finished higher than ninth if he had made another stop like his team-mate, but was happy to see both Force India drivers score points at Marina Bay.
“It’s good to be in the points and from a team perspective it’s been a successful day,” said Hulkenberg. “This is always a difficult race, especially from a strategic point of view, and maybe we could have achieved even more today. After the safety car I had to do a 30-lap stint on the soft tyres and like most of the cars ahead I was running out of grip towards the end of the race.
“With hindsight it would have been better to pit again for fresh tyres and we probably could have finished even higher up, but it’s always a difficult decision for the team with the information we had at the time. The good news is that we got two cars home in the points.”